Iranian cinema has been among the most critically acclaimed in the world in recent years. Czech audiences have been able to enjoy the cream of the country’s movies thanks to the Festival of Iranian Film, or ÍRÁN:CI, which is taking place for the seventh time in Prague. Ahead of Tuesday night’s opening ceremony I spoke to festival founder Kaveh Daneshmand, who explained the theme of the latest edition: Don’t be scared.
The documentary Children Online shines a highly revealing light on how the lives of kids in the Czech Republic are increasingly shaped, if not dominated, by the internet. The film shows that for today’s generation YouTube videos have largely supplanted television, to be offline is to be an outsider and cyber-grooming is a genuine threat. I discussed Children Online, which has been screened at 20 festivals, with its director, Kateřina Hager. My first question: What had drawn her to the subject to begin with?
Czech filmmaker, documentarist and screenwriter Drahomíra Vihanová has
died at the age of 87. Prague’s FAMU film school confirmed that Mrs
Vihanová, a native of Moravský Krumlov, passed away on Sunday after
suffering from a short illness. The director belonged to the golden 60s
generation of the Czech New Wave, completing studies at Prague’s FAMU and
working alongside filmmakers such as Frantíšek Vláčil and Otakar
Her drama debut, Squandered Sunday (from 1969) was banned for political reasons by the communists and only screened 20 years later, after the fall of the regime in 1989.
In 1994, Vihanová directed Pevnost (The Fortress) with Hungarian actor György Cserhalmi and Miroslav Donutil in lead roles
With the Christmas season underway many of Prague’s museums and galleries are offering special events and programs, among them a museum dedicated to the seminal works of the great 20th century animator and film director Karel Zeman - behind films like Journey to the Beginning of Time and Baron Munchausen. The Karel Zeman Museum has plenty planned for each advent weekend, including a steampunk robot photographer ready to snap visitors’ pictures.
Acclaimed Czech film director Jiří Menzel is in critical condition in
hospital in Prague's Střešovice according to commercial broadcaster
TV Nova. According to the weekly Týden, the 79-year-old underwent an
emergency brain operation lasting six hours and is now in an induced coma.
His family has not commented on his condition.
Mr Menzel is one of the best-known directors to come out of the Czech New Wave in the 1960s. He won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1968 for Closely Watched Trains.
František Vláčil, Karel Kachyňa, Vojtěch Jasný, Jiří Menzel and several more of the greatest ever Czech film directors honed their craft in the army during the communist period. And as the Czechoslovak New Wave was blossoming, the country’s military were producing the kind of short films that were the envy of their counterparts elsewhere in the Eastern Bloc. That’s according to historian Alice Lovejoy, author of the book Army Film and the Avant Garde. We spoke when Lovejoy, who teaches at the University of Minnesota, was in Prague recently.
Jana Počtová’s documentary Non-Parent offers an intimate exploration of unorthodox family life in the Czech Republic today. A follow-up to her earlier film Generation Singles, it tells six stories of non-nuclear family setups, from a lesbian couple who conceive with the help of gay friends to a heterosexual pair who have made a conscious choice not to have children. When Počtová came to our studios the conversation took in everything from the challenges of step-parenting to the experiences of her 99-year-old grandmother. But I first asked the director,
US actor Harvey Keitel is currently in the Czech Republic, shooting a
supporting role for the film The Painted Bird by Czech director Václav
Marhoul. The Oscar-nominated actor, who will be staying in the country for
the next ten days, appears in the role of a Catholic priest.
The film, an adaptation of Polish writer Jerzy Kosiński’s 1965 novel, is slated for release in 2019. The cast includes other acclaimed international actors such Stellan Skarsgård and Udo Kier.
A Russian top politician turned opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov was shot dead in central Moscow in 2015. Following his murder his daughter Zhanna Nemtsova moved to Germany, where she works as a journalist and runs a foundation named after her father. At the weekend Nemtsova appeared at a packed theatre at the Jihlava documentary festival as part of its Inspiration Forum talks series. Afterwards, she shared her own sources of inspiration.